The behavior of the stars WDJ0551+4135 mysterious, but the act of stellar cannibalism may explain its unusual nature
Astronomers have discovered a bizarre star with a chemical composition unlike any known before. But using space and ground telescopes to study stars located at a distance of about 150 light years from Earth, a consortium of scientists has a hypothesis about why the object looks so strange: he destroyed a nearby star, and he is ready to die.
In a study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, explores the unusual dying star, called WD J055134.612 + 413531.09 (WDJ0551 + 4135, for short), which was first discovered by telescope Gaia European space Agency. The star first attracted the attention of researchers WDJ0551 + 4135 in 2018 that this was no ordinary white dwarf – its size is almost 2 times more typical of the stars in this class.
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Ground-based telescope of William Herschel, located in the Canary Islands in Spain, the research team examined the composition of the white dwarf to find out what substances it consists of. White dwarfs are actually “living corpses”, the core of the star without the shell, which cools over billions of years. As a rule they consist of a mixture of carbon and oxygen or oxygen and neon, surrounded by layers of helium and hydrogen. By studying these chemicals, the researchers were surprised to find that the volume of carbon were much larger, which is not typical of stars of this class, and in theory, it cannot exist in this form.
“This star stands out from all the others dwarfs. This is something we’ve never seen before. This star is almost “makes no sense”, explains astrophysicist from the University of Warwick and lead author of the study mark Hollands.
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Perhaps WDJ0551+4135 wasn’t just one dying star, and at some point over a billion years ago merged with another white dwarf. This “dance of death” was very long, and after the merger, the residual energy is dispersed dwarf up to speed, which is 99% higher than other similar stars, and now she rushes on the edge of the milky Way.
If the theory is correct, then astronomers first were able to detect the merger of white dwarfs, obtained by examining the chemical composition of stars. However, confirmation will require further study and Hollands offers a method known as asteroseismology, – the study of how stars pulsate and fluctuate, that will allow to study the composition of the core of this white dwarf.
We will remind that earlier interplanetary mission NASA has unexpectedly discovered a new black hole. Also a recent study of the space demanded attention from the public – scientists are asking Internet users to look for black holes.
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